Tuesday, March 27th, 2018


Oil briefly hits US$71, with US supply, Middle East in focus

LONDON, March 27 — Oil hit US$71 (RM275) a barrel before retreating today, supported by concern about possible disruption to Middle East supply but capped by fast rising global output and a dollar recovery. Brent crude futures were up 18 cents…

UK’s easyJet confident of securing Middle East, Asian partners for long-haul connections growth

BERLIN, March 27 — UK’s easyJet said it hopes to add Middle East and Asian carriers to its long-haul connections programme, which enables travellers to buy multiple flights in a single transaction. “Worldwide by easyJet”, the long-haul…

BMW faces US class action lawsuit over emissions

FRANKFURT, March 27 — German carmaker BMW faces a class-action lawsuit filed in a New Jersey court today for alleged emissions cheating on diesel vehicles including its X5 and 330d models. “BMW’s representations were misleading for failure…

Canada to target smuggling of steel intended to dodge US tariffs

OTTAWA, March 27 — Canada will act to prevent the smuggling of cheap steel and aluminium into the North American market to avoid new US tariffs on the metals, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today. Trudeau said earlier this month he was…

Wall Street set to open higher as trade war tensions ease

NEW YORK, March 27 — US stock index futures rose today, adding to Wall Street’s sharp rebound yesterday, as fears of a trade war between the United States and China eased. All three major US indexes ended up more than 2 per cent yesterday…

British VW drivers kick off ‘dieselgate’ claim in High Court

LONDON, March 27 — Lawyers for more than 50,000 British car owners kicked off a lawsuit against Volkswagen in London’s High Court today in a battle for compensation over a diesel emissions scandal that has engulfed Europe’s largest carmaker…

Indonesia’s Go-Jek poised for imminent SE Asia expansion

JAKARTA, March 27 — Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment company Go-Jek is set to announce its first expansion to another country in Southeast Asia in the “next few weeks”, according to an internal company email seen by Reuters….

Bank Rakyat declares 16% dividend

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Bhd (Bank Rakyat) which is looking to reduce its dependence on personal financing by focusing on other lending segments, continued its stellar performance, registering a 17.2% increase in net profit for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017.

The bank announced a 16% dividend translating to a total payout amounting to RM480 million, compared to the 15% in the previous year.

On sustaining high dividend payouts, managing director and president Datuk Zulkiflee Abbas Abdul Hamid said 15-16% are within sustainable levels.

The bank’s net profit increased by 17.2% for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017 to RM1.36 billion from RM1.16 billion.

Revenue rose 5.4% to RM7.02 billion from RM6.66 billion driven mainly by financing income.

Gross financing balance grew 2.1% or RM1.45 billion to RM70.63 billion from RM69.18 billion.

Zulkiflee said the bank has begun to see positive outcomes from corporate governance enhancement measures following a graft scandal involving former officials in 2016.

The group has embarked on a five-year strategic plan, which it began implementing this year.

It is looking to reduce the dependence on the personal financing segment over a period of five years and concentrate on other lending segments particularly mortgages and business financing, especially among small and medium enterprises to enhance its portfolio.

Its personal financing portfolio stood at about RM56 billion, making up 79% of its total gross financing balance of RM70.63 billion.

Meanwhile, Zulkiflee said that measures are being taken to enhance corporate governance.

“We have revamped everything. If you look at it, we have engaged consultants to do our corporate governance, we have totally done it. We made a lot of changes. Some of our management team is also quite new,” he said.

“For me, it’s been less than a year (since appointment to the role). We came up with a strategic plan, we came up with the pillars we want to concentrate on in August-September. It’s just the beginning of 2018, this is the time we are going all out to implement it. So we have to give some time before we can release the results. What I can tell you is… within this short period of time I can see positivity,” he added.

In 2016, the bank’s former MD and chairman was charged with criminal breach of trust involving almost RM15 million.

Recently the bank cancelled a non-binding letter of intent issued to Microlink Solutions Bhd to improve its core banking system.

“It is just a letter of intent. We are not pursuing it so we cancelled it. It is very specific to say that this is only a letter of intent. This cancellation is not recent, it was done sometime in 2016. It is not in 2017 as reported,” he clarified, adding that further announcements will be made in due course.

Nine Malaysians in Forbes 2018 ‘30 Under 30 Asia’ list

PETALING JAYA: Nine young Malaysians made it to the Forbes third annual “30 Under 30 Asia” list, featuring 300 young disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs across Asia, all under the age of 30, who are challenging conventional wisdom and rewriting the rules for the next generation.

Halal cosmetic brand Zahara founder and CEO Amira Geneid, 25, is the sole Malaysian featured in The Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2018, which includes 30 honourees in 10 categories. Amira was honoured in the arts (art & style, food & drink) category.

Among the other eight listees from Malaysia are Orkid Cosmetics CEO Raeesa Sya; dahmakan founder Jonathan Weins; singer Shila Amzah and NEM.io Foundation global director of partnership & strategic alliances Jason Lee.

Themed “disruption and innovation”, this year’s list features a distinctive list of 300 youthful visionaries and disruptors. Honourees were vetted and selected by a panel of accomplished and acclaimed judges in each category.

Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia editor Rana Wehbe said Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2018 List celebrates inspiring game-changers who are disrupting their sectors and not taking “no” for an answer. From refurbishing old sneakers to addressing footwear shortage that affects billions of people, to taking the Airbnb approach with satellites, there’s no shortage of innovative ideas among this year’s honorees.

“We also noticed that many of this year’s honourees’ businesses reflect their lifestyle choices and ethos, addressing issues important to their generation. Whether it’s establishing the world’s first wedding magazine specifically catering to the LGBTQ+ brides, or founding a luxury halal-certified makeup brand, this year’s list showcases Asia’s diversity and inclusiveness,” Wehbe said.

Across the region, India had the highest number of honourees with 65 on this year’s list, followed by China with 59 honourees and Australia with 35 honourees. Notably, it is also the first time that honourees from North Korea, Fiji, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan appeared on the list.

More than 2,000 submissions were received but only 300 made the final cut. The criteria for honourees making the list included leadership and disruption in their field; entrepreneurial mind-set and results; and the likelihood of changing their field over the next half-century.

MAHB makes second disposal in two months

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), which sold out of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd in February, has now disposed its entire 23% stake in GMR Male International Airport Ltd (GMIAL) for US$7.3 million (RM28.5 million).

MAHB told Bursa Malaysia that its wholly owned subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Labuan) Private Ltd (MALPL) had on March 14 entered into a share purchase agreement with India’s GMR Holdings for the disposal, including receivables and loans.

The airport operator will see a gain of US$7.3 million from the sale, as the total carrying value of GMIAL in MAHB’s book was fully impaired in 2014. MALPL invested a total equity of US$6.9 million for the 23% shares in GMIAL.

GMIAL was incorporated in Maldives in Aug 9, 2010 to operate, maintain, expand, rehabilitate and modernise the Ibrahim Nasir Airport for a period of 25 years.

Two years into the job however, the Maldives government and Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL) declared that the concession agreement with GMIAL was void ab initio.

A panel of arbitrators in the arbitration process initiated by the Maldives government and Maldives Airport Company Ltd (MACL) however declared the concession agreement valid and the Maldives government and MACL were liable in damages to GMIAL for loss caused by wrongful repudiation of the agreement.

On Nov 16, 2016, the Maldives government paid a sum of about US$271 million to GMIAL, which were to settle GMIAL’s bank borrowings, creditors and other accrual expenses.

MAHB’s shares were up 3 sen or 0.3% to close at RM8.87 today, on some 2.41 million shares traded.